Multivitamins are supplements that contain a range of different vitamins and minerals. They usually come in the form of a tablet.
Different multivitamin supplements use different ingredients. Some multivitamins have different formulations specifically for men, women and children. Multivitamins commonly include B vitamins, vitamin C, fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and minerals such as iron.
For more information on specific vitamin and minerals, see these pages below:
Because multivitamins contain many different vitamins, there are many ways in which they effect the body. For example, some people believe vitamins B9 (folate), B12 and D may assist in treating depressionby impacting the levels of different brain chemicals that are involved in regulating mood. It is not clear how multivitamins specifically may help depression.
There is very little scientific evidence to date on multivitamins for the treatment of depression.
One study looked at the effect of multivitamins on a small group of women who had symptoms of distress, including depression. Multivitamins were no more effective than a placebo (dummy pill) at reducing depression symptoms.
Some supplements can be harmful or ineffective if you take the wrong dose. For example, large doses of Vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body, and taking too much of these can be harmful. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and/or poor appetite.
Talk to your health care professional if you are thinking of taking supplements.
Vitamins are present naturally in food. You can buy vitamin supplements in supermarkets, pharmacies, health food shops, and online health shops. They usually come in tablet, capsule, powder, or oral liquid form. Vitamins may also be given as an injection by a doctor.
There is no evidence to recommend multivitamins as a treatment for depression.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 May 2019